The 2021-22 school year will be a return to normal, with some restrictions still in place, says the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.
Education Minister R.J. Simpson says the GNWT are prepared to open the school year, and continue their work to improve education outcomes for students in the NWT.
“It has been a challenging time for our communities, but I’m grateful to see our rising vaccination rates and an easing of some restrictions,” he adds.
For the upcoming school year, wearing non-medical masks or face coverings will be mandatory on school buses and within the school building outside of the classroom. Masks will not be required in classrooms and physical distancing in classrooms for students in grades 7-12 will no longer be required.
Regular hand washing, screening for symptoms daily, and increased disinfecting and sanitizing in schools are still required.
High school programming for grades 10-12 and graduation requirements will return to normal. Alberta achievement tests for grades 6 and 9 students and diploma exams will also resume.
Student assessment, evaluation and reporting processes will return to pre-COVID-19 conditions meaning every student will receive grades and report cards according to existing school policies and scheduled dates.
There will be no drama classes or productions, singing, choir, band programs or the playing of wind-blown musical instruments in schools as well as no physical education programming or extra-curricular activities that are high contact.
School assemblies, large gatherings or concerts/events will not be allowed for this year however outdoor activities are encouraged.
Education staff in-servicing, professional development activities and staff meetings can occur if physical distancing can be maintained, and participants are masked.
CPHO Kami Kandola says the guidelines for the 2021-22 school year take into account the continued presence of variants of concern as well as the territory’s vaccination rates.
“The rising vaccination rate is encouraging and helps to manage risk across the whole territory, and particularly in our NWT schools,” she adds.
Kandola says education bodies have submitted reopening plans for each school based on specific criteria provided by the OCPHO.
The full back to school guidelines can be found on the GNWT’s website.